Tuesday, December 30, 2008

God I feel old

and I'm not that old, really. 44 is a far cry from being dead. I still feel ancient. Or more aptly, like a dirty old man. And a pathetic one at that.

Here I am, working 200 miles from home. I spend my nights at the hotel bar, eating dinner and drinking. Bad enough, I know. But then there are these cute bartenders (both female). And while they are cute (did I say that already?) and one of them jiggles really nicely, I still can't help but be reminded that I am old enough to be their father. And not any of this barely doing it at 16 either - these girls (ok, technically women, but c'mon, at that age they don't want to be called women, do they?) are both younger than my step-daughter!

I haven't started to lose my memory (yet). I can remember back in high school. Sitting there in math class, and it was like the teacher had erection radar - the only time you I would be called up to the blackboad was when I had a sponaneous woody in my pants - for no other reason than I was 16. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to go back to that, by any means. I was actually a bit grateful the day I realized that I no longer had to worry about attempting to hide inappropriate bulges in my pants because there was a strong breeze, or a member of the opposite sex within a five mile radius. However, it would be nice to think that I was actually still alive, and could appreciate the assets of a pretty girl, in more than a slightly academic way.


I seem to have missed that 'normal' stage of a sex drive - and gone from the teenage 'WAY TOO MUCH' to the middle age 'where did it go?'. The hardware still works fine, it is the software that doesn't seem to be keeping up.

Honestly, a few years ago it was more of an issue - but now it just seems to be.

I hate feeling old.

Monday, December 22, 2008

If it isn't one thing . . .


Today seemed to start off good. Got to the client and pretty quickly got access to the software I need. Of course then later this morning I finally find out where the actual code is - but do I have access there? Of course not - yet another different request to get that.

I would think that since I seem to be the last team member on this project that they would know what we need alreadyan and would have put all the requests in - if not before I got there then at least as soon as I did. It seems like every day there is one more thing I need that I should already have and I don't.

I also thought we would be working 4 x 10, but apparently not. Which makes me a bit curious about the team members who left thursday afternoon to go home. And travel time is not billable (I could hope but didn't expect it), so did those guys really just lose a day and a half? And what about the on-shore people (the ones they brought over from India to code the project - who aren't going home on the weekends for sure)? Friday I checked several times and never saw any sign that any of them were in at all.

Plus I still don'kt have all the set up from my company yet. I hope it feels a little better once I can put in my time and expense reports, since without those I don't get paid!

Oh well, if I didn't have something to complain about then I'd have to make something up!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, December 19, 2008

ID-10-T error

We now resume our regularly scheduled rant - hopefully without another pre-mature transmission (we all know how messy and embarrassing those are.)

Two examples, both with my new job. First is the weather. The horrible snowstorm was all over the news last night with another one to follow on Sunday. Should I stay up here or brave the roads to be home - and if I do, will it take 6-8 hours again like it did Tuesday?

The bigger one was simply my own self doubt about this job. Can I do it? Am I the expert that my job title says I am? Do I know enough to not be an idiot here? Yes, I've had a lot of self doubt the past couple of days. And not being able to remember a technical component (JMX) the first day didn't help.

But I feel better now. I have finally found some of the documents I have been looking for - and they make me feel much better about what I know and what I can do / provide here. I don't think the client's use of the technology is nearly as advanced as I first believed - the stuff we did before was much, much more. I still have more to research, but I'm feeling a lot more comfortable, even if I still haven't used JMX.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Realistic expectations

How do I set more reasonable expectations in life? I don't mean goals or projects - just be more accurate in what to ezpect day to day.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Waiting is the hardest part

Here I sit
Broken hearted
Came to work
And sat there. And sat there. And sat there.

Ok, so it is first thing in the morning - I have to at least wait for people to come in so they can check to see if I have been set up. Unfortunately, knowledge of this does not make me less frustrated about it.

Then the weather. A big storm tomorrow, and another on Sunday. The days I need to drive. Just friggin great. I'm really thinking that I may just have to stay up here through the weekend simply because of the weather. Aarrgh.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sigh - more waiting

Now it looks like no access unti tomorrow. My role is helping w/ tech design and mentoring the programmers - not really programming myself.

Of course all the documents I need to start wrapping my mind around this are on the share - there is very little paper around here it seems.

Speaking of which - got the rest of the starting paperwork filled out - I'll have to send it from the hotel tonight though.

Oh, and one minor annoyance - the time on the phones is 4 minutes fast, as is the time on the wall clocks. Same with the clock in my hotel room. What, is Michigan in it's own time zone 4 minutes ahead of the rest of the world?
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Hmmm - so far (like half a day) this does not feel like I expected - not that it is bad or good mind you.

To me, when I thought about getting paid double what I was - I just felt like when we had brought in high priced consultants - it was critical to utilize all of their time. The other employees would stop their other projects to make sure they were working with these people. We would prepare as much as possible before they arrived and be working within an hour bringing them up to speed on the project and the issues we were going to be working on.

So far that has not been this - not by a long shot. I get the feeling so far that this is much more like a regular job - just much more focussed (there is no one to interrupt me with other projects after all). Everyone on the project is a contractor from the looks of it (most of them from India).

Also of interest - my badge is set up until the end of next month, and they are already talking about extensions beyond the first of the year (one team member who will be doing the testing was supposed to start next week - but now appears like it will be the first of the year.

I just hate the waiting and attempting to look like I'm worth my pay check.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

More and more waiting

Got a badge and I'd number now - so next step is computer access (which requires the I'd number). I hope all the software is already installed so I can start to look at things before the 3:00 team meeting.

Kind of ironic a bit when you think that here I am working at a huge insurance company - when we don't yet have any ourselves (however this job will either allow me to pay for some, or I will get a permanent position pretty soon.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Day one

Rushing around only to end up sitting and waiting. The mgr had an unezpected meeting - though I did see my half cube on the way in - all the cubes here are tiny, with only half walls - so you look up and see everyone around you. Kind of warm in here as well - will be glad to get started so I can off the suit jacket. Also doesn't look like anyone else is wearing a tie - but then as a consultant I think I should be a bit better dressed than the others.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Over 8 friggin hours! For only what - 230 miles or so. And I have to get the drug test done before I get to the client site in the morning - so definitely have to be up early
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Finally creeping along

After only 50 minutes and one more tow truck
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

And now 5

2 tow trucks. 1 snowplow. 1 cop. And 1 that I wasn't really paying attention to. And 30 minutes (I am tracking from when I called Diane to tell her I was stuck)

What sucks is I have probably 3 hours at normal highway speeds to get there!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

4 so far

Yep, that is the number of emergency vehicles that have gone by on the shoulder of I-75 as I sit here. 20 minutes so far, and I thought this trip was taking a long time when I was only able to go 35-40 mph. It is taking much longer now that I'm parked waiting. And waiting.

At least my crackberry is able to provide some entertainment while I sit here. I will have to see what other apps are out there since I have nothing else to do.

What a way to start a new job. Oh yeah - I also wasnkt able to do my drug test this afternoon (the interview took longer than expected, the roads sucked, and the paperwork I needed was at home) so I have to start the day by peeing a cup. At least there is a clinic about 2 miles from the client site, and I don't have to be there until 9 (it opens @ 8:15).
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Trying to be patient

and not succeeding very well. I am supposed to report to work at 9 am tomorrow morning. But I still need to get drug tested, and to do that I have to get the paperwork - which is coming by fedex. Plus Lotus Notes is coming fedex as well, as well as the paperwork for me to start working. I HATE this waiting, wondering, and rushing to try and get things done.

I have an orientation call this morning in about 10 minutes - a part of me feels that this is kind of a waste, as I am only scheduled to be an employee for what - two to three weeks? The recruiter did give me the sense of urgency about this project, but it doesn't seem to have spread throughout the organization.

Then this afternoon I have an interview with the same company for a permanent position here in town. The thing that makes it more complicated is last week I interviewed for a position on the same project with another company - and I would be a subcontractor to this one. So I have to make sure I'm clear and upfront about things, so I don't just get tossed out completely, which would be bad. The interview Friday was with a company that has made the top 10 places to work in this area for the past two years, and is the difference between a small company (some 50 or so people) and a giant (what, 90,000+ employees worldwide) company. Could be interesting.

I just wish the stupid paperwork would get here already.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Seven weeks today

since I lost my job. Seven weeks of looking during a recession as well as the end of the year - kind of the making of a perfect storm for not being able to get a new job. I've begun to lose count of the number of interviews I've had (I think about a dozen or so). All went well, but didn't produce anything.

All but one that is. There are a couple that look really good, one that I think would be a really good fit, even if it will be a 30-45 minute drive. Did some of the paperwork for that one, so now I'm waiting again.

It is the waiting that is the absolute worst part. But at least for the next few weeks I won't be waiting. Yep, on Monday I'll be in Detroit (Detroit in December - there's a way to attract anybody). But I'll be working. For a large sum of money. Normally I would not consider anything that was not local, but the dollars simply made me stand up and take notice. It is only a 3-4 week job, but it should give us a couple more months breathing room, and I hope in that time to get a permanent (even if as not as well paying) job.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

December 8th, 2008

Time yet again for that yearly update to all our friends, family, in-laws, out-laws, and that last person that is always on the list but no one remembers who they are related to:

Time keeps marching forward, and hairlines, hemlines, hopes and dreams go with it.  Though we are still struggling in this bleak wasteland of Ohio, they are talking that soon everyone will have a horseless carriage of their own – but that no one will be able to afford the gas to drive it!  At least there is some relief finally at the pump, if not for the rest of the economy.
Once again it seems we were constantly on the move.  A quick weekend back to Colorado for Mom & Dad’s big anniversary, as well as a trip to Minnesota for Mike and Diane (with an extra week up there for Diane) for Becky’s graduation kept us busy in the spring.  It seems that someone was going to some camp or another all the time over the summer, and somehow Matthew managed to get to go to all of them.  Between leadership camp in California for the boys (and a week vacation for Diane visiting friends and relatives), band camp for the boys and myself (as chaperone, cart repairman, and generally lugger of equipment), and scout camp for Matthew, things were always on the move.
Unfortunately, the fall did not hold such good news.  After 17 years working for Reynolds and Reynolds in the Dayton area, I was let go (to put it nicely), and at this point am still searching for work.  This has put a bit of a damper on the holiday season, but Diane is working hard to help out with her real estate business.
Speaking of which, her business has continued to grow.  She added two more investors to her growing entourage, though one company has since pulled back after a tremendous buying spree early in the year.  Still, she is yet again one of the top sellers in her office, even if the dollar amounts of the sales are pretty low.  Both Diane and I continue to work on the Band Booster board, and with as many newsletters as she is now signed up to write, I still can’t see how I end up penning this little note every year.
Becky has had a great year, getting herself a big girl job (with insurance, benefits and everything) after graduating from St. Kate’s in May and completing her internship.  She is working full time at Coon Rapids high school as a sign language interpreter, and she absolutely loves it.  She is still living uptown, but will be moving again in February (ah, the joy of being young and free, and moving every year!)  She will also soon be starting at Sorenson Communications as a video relay interpreter, and is an assistant coach for her old volleyball team.  And for those with inquiring minds, she and Lou are still together.
Jon is in his third year at Bowling Green State University, having changed his major (again, but who is counting?) to Psychology with an art minor. The year has been one of firsts for him since he got his first apartment with three other guys, which has been a lot of fun.  He also joined a comedy improvisational troupe on campus called “Bad Genetics” (I try not to take offense a the title because he isn’t referring to me at all!) which he has really been getting into and having a lot of fun with, performing both live and doing videos that they post on YouTube.  He is still working for the school dining service as a student supervisor,
and hopes to become a manager by the end of the semester.
Katie has been very busy this year.  In July she returned home from Cross Creek after almost three years.  Though she did not graduate the program she has since continued to work her program at home.  She is currently a senior at West Carrollton High School and is very involved in the choir.  Her grades are decent besides the fact that Algebra II is kicking her butt.  She is applying to Sinclair Community College and hopes to attend in the fall so she can be a writer (see – everyone else is a writer but I do the family letter – what gives?).  She has a part time job working at the local Big Boy restaurant which she really enjoys.
Erik has completed his third year of marching band as a junior at WCHS.  Their show was “The Sounds of Sinatra”, and though it is a rebuilding year for the band things are growing and getting better.  He has formed a jazz band with his friends and had a few performances already, though they have yet to come up with a name for it.  He has begun to look at colleges, and is currently thinking about the University of Cincinnati, where he would like to major in physics or engineering.  In addition, he got his drivers permit, so stay off the streets!
            Matthew is a freshman at WCHS and also in the marching band, having loads of fun playing baritone.  He is getting taller every day, and was never happier than when he realized that he was finally as tall as his father, and on a good day even taller.  He is still involved in the boy scouts, acting as the assistant patrol leader for his patrol, and going on lots of campouts.
Scout has recently become upset at all the disturbances that get in the way of his goal of sleeping the entire day away.  In the few minutes that he does open his eyes, he continues to watch over his domain, barking through the window and going nuts when he sees the neighbor walking her three legged Chihuahua (who we affectionately have nicknamed ‘tripod’).
As the year slowly winds to a close, we look forward to 2009 with all of our hopes and dreams.  Times have been tough for everyone, and we hope to turn it around here in Ohio for at least this branch of the Carter clan.  One highlight is sure to be the cruise that Diane and I are going on in February (her annual realtor convention, luckily bought and paid for many months ago).
Our best wishes go out to everyone during this time of year for a great Christmas and an even better New Years.

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Mike, Diane, Becky, Jon, Katlyn, Erik, Matthew and Scout